As regular GetReligion readers know, we don't pay much attention to editorials and reviews, unless they touch on topics that are so newsworthy that we simply have to talk about them. You could make a case that the current flood of negative reviews of The Da Vinci Code movie would fall into this category. But there are just too many of them. If you want to tap into that, you can head over to Rotten Tomatoes and eat your fill.
So what about the news itself?
Well, the DVC news coverage is also so heavy that I am having trouble trying to read even a 10th of it. Then again, that is why God made Ted Olsen, over at Christianity Today's blog. Click here if you want access to his usual blitz of URLs to reviews, news, strange press releases and who knows what all. And Olsen offers this interesting thought for reporters working this story:
What Weblog doesn't quite understand is the use of the term boycott in talking about one particular movie. Is saying "don't see this movie" or "this movie stinks" the same as calling for a boycott? If so, then why are critics described as "panning" the film but pastors and bishops are "calling for a boycott"? And is choosing not to see a film the same as taking part in a boycott? Because I'm not reading a lot about the big R.V. and Just My Luck boycotts. And if it's a boycott to refuse to see a film, what do you call Sony's refusal to let people who want to see the film (namely film critics who aren't in Cannes) do so?
Meanwhile, if you want to know why there are so many stories about about this movie gracing prime slots on the front pages of major newspapers, click here to see the "Well, Da Duh!" story of the day -- a newsy report by Godbeat veteran Tom Mullen, writing for Editor & Publisher's website. It does seem that more secular editors want to "get" religion news when it involves Hollywood, the Vatican, heresy, alleged feminism, multimedia evangelism, screwed-up history, a kinky albino monk (repeat after me: Opus Dei does not even have monks), goddess worship and a splash of edited-out sacred sex.
You think? Thus, Mullen writes:
Newspapers don't always do a good job of covering religion. You don't have [to] look too far for critics in and outside the newsroom whom [you] can fault about how the whole realm of belief is covered. And it's interesting to note how a Hollywood movie has again become a huge religion story that's inspiring so much copy. Where is all the religion coverage on matters a little closer to home, a little closer to readers' everyday lives? That's still a topic for discussion at length, but for now, it's worth noting what many papers did well over the last week or so before "Da Vinci" opened.
Read it all. And let us know if you see stories that do a good job of dealing with the facts of this story, as well as the hot opinions on both sides.
One thing is clear: Everyone needs to read the latest opus from the amazingly literate and fair-minded Peter J. Boyer of The New Yorker. If you have not read his "Hollywood Heresy: Marketing 'The Da Vinci Code' to Christians," then what are you waiting for? It gets five stars (out of five).